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* Posts by Gerry 3

131 posts • joined 24 Oct 2011

Google DeepMind trial failed to comply with data protection – ICO

Gerry 3

Re: Tom

What's the problem with WileyFox, other than making you use TrueCaller which breaches the data Protection Act by stealing all your contacts and publishing the names of owners of the phone numbers therein?

And all the other bundled spyware and the total lack of instructions, but knowing Google I fear that's probably the case with any Android device.

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Gerry 3
Boffin

Re: Gah!

No, they just corrected their spelling mistake, they changed 'Do No Evil' to 'Do Know Evil'...

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Doormat junk: Takeaway menus, Farmfoods flyer, NHS data-sharing letter... wait, what?

Gerry 3
WTF?

How do the NHS expect those who have very sensibly opted out of receiving Royal Mail Junk Mail to exercise their right to opt out of medical data slurping??

Oh, wait...

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BMW climbs into IBM Watson's cloudy connected charabanc

Gerry 3
FAIL

Oh well, that's BMW crossed off my list...

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Labour says it will vote against DUP's proposed TV Licence reforms

Gerry 3
Stop

Re: Yes, I know. I'm a wimp.

Just withdraw their Implied Right of Access, tell them that you are well aware of the licensing regulations and that you will also take action under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 if they issue any further threats or send the boys round.

They won't pester you again.

BTW, there's no obligation to tell them whether you have a TV, nor do you have to let them in to check (except in the unlikely event that they obtain a valid search warrant).

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Paxo trashes privacy, social media and fake news at Infosec 2017

Gerry 3
Facepalm

Re: Naselus

Blatantly ageist poster condemns elders as racist...

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Just 99.5 million nuisance calls... and KeurBOOM! A £400K megafine

Gerry 3

There IS a Complaint Button

Or rather, a facility code. It's 1477, Anonymous Call Trace. It stores the offending caller's real number at your exchange for subsequent investigation / action, even if the number was withheld. (Withholding the number only prevents it being disclosed to the called party: it's still transmitted all the way to the destination exchange.)

But good luck in getting it enabled on your line, your telco probably won't even have heard of it.

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Crooks can nick Brits' identities just by picking up the phone and lying

Gerry 3
Boffin

Re: I always politely hang up, then call them back from the number printed on my card

Not a different phone, a different LINE. However, most exchanges will now drop a call within a few seconds of you clearing down, so the risk of a scammer holding the line open is much reduced.

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Gerry 3
Facepalm

Bank security is a complete joke

The golden rules of passwords are (1) not to share them between accounts, (2) not to use information in the public domain (3) to change them regularly.

So what do they ALL use ? Parameters that break all three rules: Date of Birth, Mother's Maiden Name, First Line of Address & Postcode, Telephone Number. Obviously no-one ever phones them or sends them cards on their birthday !

Worst of all, when calling back they expect you to provide your security details when they have offered no evidence that they really are calling from the bank. When challenged, they invariably seem utterly bewildered and refuse to provide any info, endlessly repeating the mantra of 'Data Protection'. They still refuse to co-operate even when I suggest providing info that would be useless to anyone else e.g. 'Ignoring the pounds, what's the odd number of pence in my account?'.

The silliest were Flow Energy. Their website told me to enter my DoB from a drop down menu, so I entered one from early in the last century. Two weeks later they rejected my application, saying that it was an invalid date ! They said they were happy with a date other than my real DoB, but it couldn't be an invalid one (i.e. too old) even though their Computer Said Yes.

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We're 90 per cent sure the FCC's robocall kill plan won't have the slightest impact

Gerry 3

Re: WHITELIST

Truecaller drives a coach and horses through data protection by rifling through your contacts list and publicly linking the numbers to the owners' names without their knowledge or permission. It should be banned by the ICO.

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Gerry 3

OFCOM: Too Little, Too Late. As Usual.

There's long been a facility in the UK to flag nuisance calls where the number is withheld. It's 1477, Automatic Call Trace. It stores the offending number at the local exchange for subsequent investigation. However, it's not available by default and you'll find it almost impossible to get it enabled - you'll be lucky to find anyone that's ever heard of it.

BT (the most expensive telco) has recently made available a free facility (BT Call Protect) that diverts known nuisance calls to voicemail and also allows users to block various categories such as withheld, international etc. It sounds like it may have some effect.

Unfortunately OFCOM (the Office of the Chocolate Teapot) has not mandated it to be offered by all other telcos. The obvious result is likely to be that nuisance callers will clear down as soon as they hit voicemail, so non-BT lines are likely to experience a massive increase in such calls.

Before long the directors of nuisance calling companies will be personally liable so they won't be able to escape ICO fines by closing down and starting a new company, so that may help. Automatic jail sentences for UK directors using overseas call centres to make nuisance calls to the UK would be even better.

For many years BT has used fake entries in telephone directories to prevent copying, and map makers have used fake streets and landmarks So why not list fake 'honeypot' numbers that route through to the ICO - make a nuisance call to one of those and you're busted on the spot !

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Are you undermining your web security by checking on it with the wrong tools?

Gerry 3
FAIL

I'm none the wiser

Perhaps this is intended only for company IT professions rather than ordinary PC users, but I'm none the wiser. El Reg didn't make things clear, e.g. whether it's relevant and what if anything I need to do.

Similarly, the badssl site is meaningless, as is the USCERT site. The latter is particularly hopeless because its feedback form brings up an Access Denied page and loses all the comments that have been entered, even if cookies are accepted and Ghostery is paused.

OK, I'm probably just thick, but I can't be the only one.

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Road accident nuisance callers fined £270,000 for being absolute sh*tbags

Gerry 3

Overseas call centres always leak data

When I was with BT I gave them a unique disposable email address. So far it's received 1420 spam emails. Fortunately they've all been blocked.

Same thing happened with Adobe and Primus Telecom. If you give your details to an organisation with an overseas call centre, expect to be spammed and / or to receive nuisance calls.

Similarly, I give only an 0701 Flextel number out when websites insist on a number, e.g. energy, insurance etc. At over 50p/minute, it doesn't get any nuisance calls !

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BT installs phone 'spam filter', says it'll strain out mass cold-callers

Gerry 3

Re: But...

OFCOMatose is always asleep at the wheel...

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Mr Angry pays taxman with five wheelbarrows worth of loose change

Gerry 3

When I wrote a British cheque in US dollars...

Many moons ago I fulfilled a schoolboy ambition by collecting someone's car in New York and driving it to San Francisco to deliver it. One dark night I parked it at a meter in Chicago on a main road. I took great care to check the meter, which said that charges only applied from 9am to 7pm. When I ventured out at 8.50am I was astounded to see a $20 ticket stuck to the windscreen. Turned out that hidden in the undergrowth was a filthy old sign that said there was no parking between 7am and 9am. It was invisible at night, not that anyone would would be looking there; the notice on the meter should have spelt this prohibited times in big letters.

I was delivering a mother's car to her daughter who was studying at Berkeley, so my initial idea of just tearing up the unfair ticket might have caused problems for her. The Chicago jobsworths were most unhelpful, repeating that 'a parking ticket is a parking ticket' so I thought I'd show theoretical willingness to pay by posting them a NatWest cheque made out in the sum of "$20 or £8". (Yes, it was a long time ago.)

Imagine my surprise and disappointment when my next bank statement arrived showing a debit of £8 along with the paid cheque bearing several colourful rubber stamps (they used to return cheques in those days) !

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Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues

Gerry 3

Vaping does normalise smoking

'Normalisation' is a perfectly good argument against vaping. The tobacco companies will always support anything that promotes the acceptability of smoking tobacco or raises its profile, no matter how subtly. Get 'em young !

Fifty years ago, one of the ploys was 'sweet cigarettes', a sugary edible lookalike. Of course, it didn't make any five year old dash out, buy a packet of 10 cancer sticks and start puffing away, but it helped to sow the seeds of association, implying that one day you'd be old enough to use the real thing.

Today they'd love vaping to be allowed everywhere, including No Smoking areas, because it makes it harder to spot anyone smoking tobacco: try distinguishing a vaper from a smoker on CCTV. Fortunately, this has failed because almost all organisations include vaping in smoking bans.

Besides, who knows what's in the vaping goo? Of course, they'd never flavour it with anything addictive or something that research showed created a craving for tobacco, would they?

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UK.gov was warned of smart meter debacle by Cabinet Office in 2012

Gerry 3
Coat

Are you a Smart Person?

Smart People have Dumb Meters. Dumb People have Smart Meters.

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Smart meter benefits even crappier than originally thought

Gerry 3
Happy

Re: Two reasons

Thanks !

Feel free to use that strapline as often as possible. The more people that become aware of the Smart Meter Scam, the better.

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Gerry 3

Shut Those Shop Doors !

Most shops seem to leave all their lights on whether they're needed or not, as well as trying to heat or cool the entire High Street because they leave their doors wide open in all weathers. Smart meters won't make a jot of difference here, it's their customers that have to foot the increased energy bills.

It would cost virtually nothing to pass a simple law banning heating or cooling of retail premises when the doors are left open. That would save far more energy than smart meters ever will.

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Gerry 3

Re: Two reasons

Close, but not quite right. Yes, remote disconnection will be used to give you your own private power cut when it's cold and dark and we find we really do need all the power stations the bean counters said we it was cheaper not to build.

However, there won't be any saving on meter readers (which would have been minute anyway, how much does it cost for a two-minute minimum wage visit every year or two compared to the £400 cost of installing smart meters?). There will still have to be periodic 'safety' visits (translation: to make sure you're not bypassing the meters to get free energy).

The real second reason is price hikes and Confusion Marketing. You'll have to pay more for an Uninterruptable Tariff to stop the Smart Meter cutting you off when there's not enough juice to go round, and you'll have to pay more per kWh if you use lightbulbs after dark, or don't cook Sunday lunch at 2am while you do the washing and tumble drying.

Dumb People have Smart Meters. Smart People have Dumb Meters.

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WileyFox Swift 2: A new champ of the 'for around £150' market

Gerry 3

The second SIM is only 2G

The problem remains that the second SIM can only handle 2G, so even with 4G coverage you still can't have two Three SIMs active at the same time.

You can switch the designated 'clever' SIM from one socket to the other but this is laborious and takes quite some time, and you would still lose incoming calls from the SIM that is not active.

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Gerry 3
Thumb Down

Steer clear of Wileyfox !

The original Wileyfox Swift isn't a proper dual SIM phone. Only one SIM can use 3G which is a massive let down if both your SIMs are 3G only (e.g. Three in the UK) because for one SIM you'll forever be told the network is unavailable.

No instructions came with it so I'm still finding by trial and error how it works and trying to stop it spying on me and doing all sorts of untoward things behind my back.

Similarly, I wasn't impressed by the bundled Truecaller app which breaches the Data Protection Act by snaffling other people's private details from your Contacts list and making this available to all and sundry without their knowledge and without their permission.

It could have been a really great phone, but unless and until Wileyfox change their ways I'd steer well clear of them. The fact that the battery is no longer removable does not inspire confidence.

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Brit smart streetlight bods Telensa named 'global market leader'

Gerry 3

Re: For walkers too

The new LED lights in my station car park are normally dimmed but brighten significantly when motion is detected.

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Tesco Bank limits online transactions after fraud hits thousands

Gerry 3
Facepalm

Re: These idiots woke me up TWICE !

@AC

No, it would certainly NOT be a good idea to be forced to turn my phone off and be uncontactable, just in case a stupid wunch of bankers think it's a really bright idea to keep sending me spam texts in the wee small hours. None of my accounts had been hacked, and even if they had, what could I do about it at 0428 anyway?

If they do it again I'll track down their CEO and call him or ring the doorbell to complain at a similar time and see how he likes it.

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Gerry 3
Flame

These idiots woke me up TWICE !

I was rudely awoken at 0426 this morning by a text message. Fearing that it was some absolutely terrible news, a life changing ‘Death or Disaster’ message, I was infuriated beyond belief to find that that it was merely a TescoBank press release about online banking that had been widely publicised the previous day. TescoBank had also sent me a very similar text late Sunday afternoon and I had already checked that all my accounts were in order.

Unbelievably, I was then woken up again at 0448 by a third very similar text message from these idiots...

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BT will HATE us for this one weird 5G trick

Gerry 3
Alert

Re: Bus AND Cycle Lanes

It's already been done, there's a bus and cycle lane at St. George's Circus in south London.

Unfortunately a Boris Bus 'nudged' a cyclist there recently...

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Gerry 3
Thumb Down

Re: Sodium Lights

High Pressure Sodium certainly isn't bluish white. It's golden white, the 'Electric Sunshine' that's become the default throughout the UK.

Low pressure sodium lighting is utterly vile - you can't see any colours (which makes it useless for CCTV) and it makes people seem ill because skin looks filthy. It's become a no-no, especially for residential and pedestrian areas.

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Cyanogen mods self away from full Android alternative

Gerry 3
WTF?

Re: My other half hated it...

On a Wileyfox Swift you can choose which SIM to use on a call by call by call basis, so what's the problem? The only catch is that it's not a true dual SIM phone because only one SIM can be used with 3G, which is a problem if both SIMs are on Three.

And it has a removable battery !

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Ordinary punters will get squat from smart meters, reckons report

Gerry 3

Just say NOOOOOO....

Yes, you have the right to refuse to have a smart meter, although your existing meter may have to be replaced if it's spinning round or more than about 10 years old.

But expect a barrage of letters trying to make an appointment !

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Gerry 3

Re: Smart meters...

"The real reason is to shift this demand and only smart meters which can charge by time of day can make it prohibitively expensive not to do so.

"I seriously doubt that consumers will change habits without a financial penalty. Money drives everything."

FTFY !

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Gerry 3

Re: How do these things help me....

There won't be any manpower savings - they will still have to visit customers every two years for a 'Safety Inspection' - to make sure they haven't bypassed the meter.

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Gerry 3
Alert

Re: The real reason for smart meters

@ c1ue: You're on the right lines, but only lukewarm so far...

1(a) When Nudge comes to Shove (instantaneous demand about to exceed available supply), expensive tariffs won't be enough. Time of Day (see below) will become Time of Darkness - it'll be the Kill Switch unless you've paid a whopping premium for an Uninterruptible Tariff*.

2(a) The "ever more blatant messaging from said utility companies to consumers to reduce consumption" won't be messaging, it'll be Time of Day tariffs. At times when you want to use electricity, it will be prohibitively expensive: the weekly wash, Sunday lunch, evening meals, breakfast time - GOTCHA !

2(b) Time of Day tariffs will work wonders for Confusion Marketing. You'll never be able to compare tariffs in a meaningful way because Big Energy 1 will take great care to make sure that their ToD parameters are very different to Big Energy 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc. Think RyanAir on steroids....

2(c) As 2(b), except that there will lots more lovely confusion when using more than, say 3kW, attracts a hefty surcharge. Only when almost everyone has been conned into having a Smart Meter will Big Energy activate all the tricks that can be used.

Smart People have Dumb Meters. Dumb People have Smart Meters.

*Excludes area power outages

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Ofcom blesses Linux-powered, open source DIY radio ‘revolution’

Gerry 3

Re: Sony XDR-P1DBP

The Sony obtained a poor rating because its DAB/DAB+ sensitivity is poor when using the earphones as an aerial. Perhaps they form a V shaped dipole which is effectively horizontally polarised, fine for most FM but not so good for the low-powered vertical transmissions that the minimuxes use?

Similarly, when used as a tuner for a stereo hi-fi the Sony's aerial will only be the connecting lead.

Otherwise it's a well-built no-frills pocket portable that's very sensitive on DAB/DAB+. Its choc-ice size means it's no boom box, but it's a good choice as a handy travel radio as long as you are aware of its strengths and weaknesses.

BTW, there's some good DX reception at the moment on FM (and possibly DAB/DAB+).

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Gerry 3
Boffin

Re: Potato

The Sony XDR-P1DBP is sensitive on DAB/DAB+ (although a bit deaf on FM, and there's no LW) and will fit in a shirt pocket. It has a micro USB for charging its internal battery.

Sadly there's no Line Out socket and it goes a bit deaf on DAB/DAB+ when earphones are plugged in because the telescopic aerial is then disconnected.

There's a good review of portable DAB+ radios here and some blog posts here.

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BBC to demand logins for iPlayer in early 2017

Gerry 3
Facepalm

Why Date of Birth?

What a good idea to tell the BBC your Date of Birth ! What could possibly go wrong?

DoB is something absolutely no-one else would know or could ever find out, and no bank or agency would ever ask for it as part of an ID check.

And the John Lewis Partnership Card account would never just ask for your DoB and the last four digits of your phone number...

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Gerry 3

Re: Phone No. Too

No, it was ABBey 1234, then 01-222 1234 etc.

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Hackers hijack Tesla Model S from afar, while the cars are moving

Gerry 3
FAIL

Connected Cars? No, thank you !

I took a test drive in a Tesla, but the massive Google touchscreen was enough to deter me from buying one. It showed that they prefer style over substance. Ditto the analogue-only radio (unless you spent a whopping £2k extra for a DAB radio that didn't even work properly because it lacked an external aerial).

But all that almost pales into insignificance compared to the massive blunder of having internet connectivity and over-the-air upgrades. It's bad enough when dodgy M$ Windows software causes a PC crash once a day, but software causing a real car crash at any time is unacceptable.

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You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

Gerry 3
Coat

Re: I like them

@ Wiltshire

>Perhaps you missed the point. if the batteries are flat, there's no data being transmitted = system failure.

No, I didn't. My Energy Monitor gives a low battery warning for at least a week or two. I don't think it's ever failed to display the correct usage, even when I've been slow to charge the batteries.

>Anyway, what's wrong with an induction coil being used to power the device?

Unfortunately you'd need a direct metallic connection to power the inductive loop charger, and if you had a direct connection available near the meter you wouldn't need inductive charging in the first place !

In any case, getting grannies to splice large Scotchlock connectors on to live cables doesn't seem a good idea...

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Gerry 3

Re: The question not asked....

Prices will rocket if your usage pattern remains unchanged, but there will be massive sleight of hand to make it almost impossible to compare competitors' tariffs. There will be all sorts of opportunities for price confusion and hidden 'Ryanair' charges.

Use energy at peak times? That'll cost you. Exceed a peak kW threshold? That'll cost you. Use more than so many kWh in a month? That'll cost you.

Don't want you own personal power cuts? Yes sir, peace of mind for you and your family is available with our uninterruptable tariff available for the nominal amount of just £50 per quarter and only 10p extra per unit. Then you'll never be in the dark again (unless there's a power cut across the whole area).

Dumb People have Smart Meters; Smart People have Dumb Meters.

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Gerry 3

Re: I like them

@ Wiltshire

There's seldom a 13A outlet close to the meter, that's why. However, the displays are usually mains powered.

Battery operation isn't a drawback because it's easy to change or recharge them, and a charge lasts a long time.

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Gerry 3

Re: I like them

You don't need a massively expensive smart meter (professionally installed when you take a day off work) to monitor your consumption. As the name suggests, an Energy Monitor will do exactly that. They are orders of magnitude cheaper; mine was given to me free of charge under some energy efficiency programme. So simple to fit that your grandmother could do it.

The problem is that unless you've always been a complete muppet that's left the windows wide open in winter with the lights and heating on 24/7, or you become nocturnal, the scope for savings will be relatively small.

The truth is what they don't tell you - smart metering is all about rationing, firstly by making it prohibitively expensive to run cookers, washing machines and dryers in daylight or to use lightbulbs after dark, and secondly by compulsory personal power cuts if you don't comply.

As the Remainians found out to their cost, you really can't fool all the people all the time !

Whoops - JimboSmith beat me to it. Must be telepathy... have an upvote !

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Ofgem sets up database so energy companies can spam Brits

Gerry 3
Alert

Places for People Energy and Iresa give fake "quotations"

Unfortunately you can be seriously overcharged if you go directly to some energy company websites. If you have Economy 7, Places for People Energy and Iresa both fail to ask for separate Day and Night meter readings; you can only submit the total usage. This means that their so-called "accurate quotations" cannot be accurate.

Places for People Energy claims that it assumes 55% night usage, which is bad enough, but in my case it turned out to be an impossibly high 69%. Iresa are almost as bad, arbitrarily assuming 40% night usage.

Both companies gave false "quotations" that were far lower than the bills my meter readings would generate, and neither was the cheapest supplier. If I had switched, they would have obtained my business by FRAUD.

Amazingly, the Advertising Standards Authority is completely happy with this deliberate misrepresentation and refuses to act ! Well, perhaps not so amazing really - ALL the so-called watchdogs and regulators are all absolutely useless, so it's par for the course I suppose.

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BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Gerry 3

Re: The Elephant In The Room

@ John Brown (no body)

No, Sky encrypt their UK transmissions so they don't have problems with rights in other countries (and to get revenue, of course). The BBC specifically chooses to transmit in the clear, desperately trying to pretend that passwords, paywalls, encryption, viewing cards etc don't exist. They know that any use of Conditional Access implies subscription, which would bring the archaic Licence Fee deck of cards crashing down.

We'd never allow Murdoch to demand payment if you read the Guardian or Telegraph rather than the Times or the Sun, so why is the BBC allowed to use anti-terrorist legislation to snoop on those who merely prefer to watch other providers' content rather than the BBC's?

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Gerry 3
Stop

The Elephant In The Room

No one seems to have realised why the BBC is so desperately refusing to adopt the blindingly obvious solution of putting the iPlayer behind a paywall. It would end all the nonsense about making their output available to all and sundry and then dragging penniless single mums through the courts (even sending some to jail), so what's not to like?

Of course, the elephant in the room is that the BBC's fat cats and luvvies are terrified of losing their ability to force people to buy all their dross when they don't want it. It makes complete sense to put the iPlayer behind a paywall (that's just what the legislators were naïvely expecting) but the logic would then be unstoppable - do the same for the licence fee !

So the BBC's always strangled at birth anything that looks like subscription. Originally their satellite transmissions covered much of continental Europe, but they were encrypted and were only viewable with a Sky subscription. Then the licence payers who couldn't receive terrestrial signals complained that they didn't want to pay Murdoch a surcharge just to be able to watch BBC programmes, so the BBC sold them a Solus decrypting card for a nominal fee. However, alarm bells then rang because this was setting a precedent for general subscription. This was far too dangerous for the fat cats: the BBC switched to a satellite with only a UK footprint so that they could end encryption and keep the compulsory licence fee going.

It's high time that the BBC was told to switch to subscription. It wouldn't end Public Service Broadcasting: on the contrary, a properly thought through system would ring fence a generous amount for high quality PSB (and BBC Radio) and allow BBC to flourish by setting it free from government interference.

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Paying a PoS*, USA? Your chip-and-PIN means your money's safer...

Gerry 3

No security at all with Contactless...

Here is the UK we have done away with both PINs and signatures for Contactless purchases of £30 or less.

We can do this because we simply don't have any thieves, dishonest family members, carers, office colleagues etc in this country.

What could possibly go wrong?

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